Former Scotland women’s manager Vera Pauw reveals she was raped by ‘prominent football official’

Pauw, who managed the Scotland women’s team between 1998 and 2004, has now reported the rape and sexual assaults to the Dutch police.

Vera Pauw has revealed she was raped by a "prominent football official"
Vera Pauw has revealed she was raped by a “prominent football official” (Image: Oisin Keniry/Getty Image)

Vera Pauw, the former Scotland women’s team manager, has revealed she was raped by a “prominent football official” while she was a young player.

Pauw shared a heartbreaking statement after she failed to receive a satisfactory response from the Dutch FA on her fifth report to them regarding the sex attack.

The 59-year-old, from Amsterdam, reported a further two sexual assaults by two men also employed within Dutch football.

Pauw, who managed the Scotland women’s team between 1998 and 2004, has now reported the rape and sexual assaults to the Dutch police.

Former defender Pauw said she could no longer keep quiet regarding the “systematic sexual abuse, abuse of power, bullying, intimidation, isolation and framing” she was exposed to as a player and national coach in Dutch football.

Penning an emotional statement on social media, Pauw wrote: “For 35 years I have kept a secret from the world, from my family, from my team-mates, my players, my colleagues and, I can now accept, from myself.

“Even those closest to me have not yet known of the rape I endured at the hands of a prominent football official when I was a young player. Later two sexual assaults by two other men were added to this record.

Vera Pauw released a statement on social media
Vera Pauw released a statement on social media (Image: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

“All three men were employed within Dutch football at the time of these incidents. Only those I can trust have known until now of the systematic sexual abuse, abuse of power, bullying, intimidation, isolation and framing I was exposed to as a player and as a national coach in Dutch football.

“For these past 35 years I have kept the abuse private. I have allowed the memory of it to control my life, to fill me with daily pain and anguish, to dominate my inner feelings.

“To many I am seen as a brash and loud football coach and manager, a tough woman who has risen to the top in a man’s world. Nothing could be further form the truth.

“For the past number of years I have tried to have my case heard in a fair and just manner by the football authorities in the Netherlands but to no avail. Some people would rather keep my rape and sexual assaults quiet than offer me the support I need by opening this story to the world.

“I can no longer share the silence. After failing to get a satisfactory response to my request for action on an investigation initiated my the Dutch FA following my fifth report to them, I recently reported my rape and sexual assaults to the Dutch police.

“That already feels like the beginning of the end for me but now I know there will be more heartache to come. Stories may appear in the Dutchy media of my horrific ordeal and I know claims may be made against me in an attempt tarnish my story.

“I take full responsibility for what I did and what I failed to do. Trust me, my story is very real and very true.

“I know going public is going to throw the spotlight on my life in a manner I have never experienced before but I also hope that other young footballers and coaches who were exposed to anything like the rape and abuse I suffered will now feel brave enough to come forward and share their stories.

Vera Pauw managed the Scotland women's team between 1998 and 2004
Vera Pauw managed the Scotland women’s team between 1998 and 2004 (Image: Getty Images)

“This will not be an easy time for me and for my family but and for now I ask you all to respect what is left of my privacy. Finally, I would like to thank my Irish backroom staff and my players, the FAI’s management and board, all my FAI colleagues and the Ireland fans for the support they have shown me as manager of the Ireland team.

“I have always felt safe and continue to feel safe and supported in Ireland and I cannot tell you how good that feels. I hope that support will continue in Ireland for me now that I have shared my story and my pain.

“This is who I am , I don’t have to hide any more. I hope I can continue my life in freedom.”

The current Irish women’s national team manager was previously married to ex-Rangers assistant manager Bert van Lingen.

The Irish FA released a statement tonight giving their full support to Pauw at “this difficult time”.

They said: “The Football Association of Ireland has given its full support to Republic of Ireland Women’s Senior Team Manager Vera Pauw at this difficult time in her life as she makes very brave revelations about her past.

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“Vera has engaged on this matter with the Association’s senior leaders for some time now and the FAI has offered her all the backing she may need on a personal and professional level.

“The FAI is absolutely aware of the impact these revelations will have on Vera’s well-being and have assured her of the ongoing full support of the FAI Board and all her colleagues at the Association.

“The FAI will be making no further comment on this matter and asks the media to respect Vera’s privacy at this very difficult time.”

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QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS FOR RANKIN AND CURLERS

Two Renfrewshire teenagers reach Miss Scotland final

A PAIR of Renfrewshire teenagers who have made it to the final of the Miss Scotland contest are hoping to prove their talents stretch far beyond the catwalk.

Murrin Duggan, who lives in Dargavel Village, Bishopton, and Lauren McCondichie, from Erskine, are two of 11 hopefuls aiming to win the title on July 29.

Both of the 19-year-olds will take part in challenges during the run-up to the final, which includes supporting a cause close to their hearts.

Murrin, who is studying social policy at the University of Glasgow, has selected Homeless Project Scotland as her chosen charity.

She told The Gazette: “I thought that applying for Miss Scotland would build my own confidence and obviously it would be great to represent this country.

“It is also basically a platform to help charities and I wanted to support Homeless Project Scotland, as the pandemic highlighted to me how bad homelessness is here.

“I’m excited to start the challenges and meet up with the other finalists again, as I met them during the interview process and they’re all lovely.”

Meanwhile, Lauren’s chosen charity will be CLAPA (The Cleft Lip And Pallet Association) as her gran was born with a cleft pallet.

The Gazette: Lauren McCondichieLauren McCondichie

The former Park Mains High pupil, who is studying interior design at the Glasgow School of Art, said: “My gran’s mum was offered very little help and often would have to pay for services.

“CLAPA help to provide feeding supplies to babies born with a cleft free of charge.”

Both Murrin and Lauren have also been inspired by the work of Claudia Todd, who currently holds the Miss Scotland title.

Lauren, who works as a swimming teacher for leisure organisation OneRen, said: “I can’t believe I have got this far in the competition, I was in complete shock when I was told the amazing news.

“I have always loved to watch the finalists go through their Miss Scotland journey from a young age.

The Gazette: Claudia ToddClaudia Todd

“Watching Claudia last year complete her challenges and get involved with her charity encouraged me to believe that I could also do it.”

Murrin added: “I’ve never done anything like this before but I just thought I’d try something new this year.

“Claudia has raised so much money for the UK Sepsis Trust while also representing Scotland and being able to travel.”

The winner of the Miss Scotland title will go on to take part in the Miss World event, to be held in Puerto Rico in December.

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Kilbarchan Pipe Band crowned as British champions

PIPERS and drummers from Renfrewshire are celebrating after being crowned as British champions.

Kilbarchan Pipe Band emerged victorious out of the 15 groups from across the UK that competed in the Grade 4B category at Battery Park, between Greenock and Gourock, on Saturday.

Michael Kerr, pipe corporal and secretary of Kilbarchan Pipe Band, said members of the group are “absolutely ecstatic” about their success at the 2022 British Pipe Band Championships.

He told The Gazette: “This is our first major championship win since the pipe band reformed just over 20 years ago.

“It’s just been a fantastic experience, especially as we put out five young players who had never competed in a major competition before.

“The weather was overcast and drizzly during the day but we got it dry for performing, which made it even better.”

Around 30 members of Kilbarchan Pipe Band played a set of four marches together and were assessed by judges on their technical abilities, as well as their overall performance.

After learning they had been awarded the trophy, the group held a party to celebrate that lasted well into the night.

Michael said: “We faced tough competition, as all the pipe bands in our grade played fantastically well.

“We would like to thank the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association for putting on events like this and helping to upkeep the Scottish pipe band music scene.

“In a couple of weeks’ time, we will be going across to Ireland to compete in the UK Pipe Band Championships, then Inverness to compete in the European Pipe Band Championships and we will also be competing in the Scottish and World Championships this year.”

Band members meet up at the Scout Hall, in Barn Green, Kilbarchan, on Tuesday and Thursday nights for practice sessions and to provide tuition to less experienced players.

Michael added: “These practice sessions and competitions are our lives between May and the end of August.

“If people are interested in joining, we offer a tuition programme to learn how to play the pipes or drums.”

Renfrewshire: Calls for period products consultation to be extended

CALLS have been made for Renfrewshire Council to extend the deadline of its free period products consultation to the end of June.

The survey was launched earlier this month in response to new legislation being introduced in August 2022 that will make free period products widely available.

Renfrewshire Council is looking for local people’s views on what types of products should be available and where they should be located.

Councillor Alison Ann-Dowling, who represents Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, said Renfrewshire’s Labour group were concerned that the consultation was not widely known about.

She told The Gazette: “The consultation was launched during the local government election period, so councillors would not have had the opportunity to promote it in their wards.

“In schools, older pupils sit assessments and exams in May or are absent from school on study leave, so are less likely to pick up on any survey requests.

“I’m not aware of any other stakeholders who have been contacted about the consultation, other than the presence of the survey on the council website.”

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council said: “We have been working with our partners to ensure that the widest range of people possible have the opportunity to tell us their views on free period products.

“The current consultation is required to take place ahead of legislation coming into effect in the summer. However, we will continue to ask people for their views and make changes to how we provide free period products as part of our ongoing work.”

The consultation currently runs until 11:45pm on Sunday and anyone who would like to have their say should visit t.co/rsN6pp1Fa8.

Renfrew marketing agency Design Hero wins prestigious prize

A MARKETING agency in Renfrew has won a prestigious prize.

Design Hero, based in Kirkfield Gardens, has been named Scottish Digital Marketing Agency of the Year in the 2022 Scottish Prestige Awards.

Nicholas Robb, company director, told The Gazette: “It’s been a year of big changes for Design Hero, transitioning our freelance team into a six-figure agency.

“This award is a real honour for the Design Hero team, who have been producing such amazing results.

“Our clients work their socks off to grow their business and don’t always get the recognition they deserve, so they are always inspiring us to do better.

“I am super proud of each and every one of them.”

A spokesperson for the Prestige Awards added: “The judges have been particularly impressed by the enormously effective three-step growth process approach adopted at Design Hero for their growing number of clients – build a killer brand, boost the business online and generate consistent leads.”

Bridge of Weir crime: Hundreds of pounds stolen from shop

POLICE have launched an investigation after a thief stole hundreds of pounds during a raid on a shop in Bridge of Weir.

The theft took place in the village’s Main Street overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

Officers were notified of the incident on Sunday afternoon, when it was discovered that the shop door had been forced open and a three-figure sum of money taken.

Enquiries are ongoing and footage from CCTV cameras is being reviewed as part of the police investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call officers on 101.

Lochwinnoch: Three men arrested after ‘crashing stolen car’

THREE men have been arrested after allegedly crashing a stolen car in Lochwinnoch.

Police said the Vauxhall Astra was taken from a rural area near the village sometime after 6pm on Saturday.

At around 10pm, officers received reports of a collision between a car and a parked vehicle in Lochwinnoch’s Main Street.

Three men were reportedly seen leaving the car and were quickly traced by police.

It is said the officers soon discovered that the Astra had been stolen and driver then failed a roadside breath test.

The 20-year-old and his two passengers, aged 21 and 24, were taken into custody and charged with theft of a motor vehicle.

The driver was also charged with a number of alleged road traffic offences.

A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Paisley: Tannahill Centre vandalised by thieves

POLICE are on the trail of thieves who vandalised a community hub in Renfrewshire.

The incident at the Tannahill Centre, in Blackstoun Road, Paisley, is believed to have taken place sometime between 6pm on Friday and Monday morning.

Police said a door was forced open and a three-figure sum of money stolen from the premises.

The community centre’s kitchen was also damaged by the crooks, with food and other items found strewn across part of the building.

Police have been reviewing CCTV footage and collecting forensic evidence in an effort to identify those involved.

Witnesses and anyone else who has information are asked to call officers on 101.

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Howwood teenager Chelsea Kerr supports children’s charity

A HOWWOOD teenager who has spent a decade raising cash for a charity close to her heart is urging people to support her latest money-spinning event.

Chelsea Kerr, 18, began fundraising for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity at the age of eight and, since then, has coined in more than £1,000 for the worthy cause.

The former Johnstone High pupil is now organising a bingo night at Midton Bowling Club, in Howwood, on Saturday, July 9.

Chelsea told The Gazette: “I previously did a sponsored cycle and sponsored walk, which each raised over £300 for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

“In 2019, I raised over £500 for the charity by walking up the Cairngorm mountains in Aviemore.

“My first sponsored walk was only from Howwood to Lochwinnoch but, from chapping on the neighbours’ doors, it all adds up.”

Chelsea now hopes to raise her highest total yet at her bingo and raffle night, which will see a variety of prizes on offer.

She said: “It’s definitely going to be a great night and the bar will be open as well, so people will be able to have a drink.

“Everyone will be able to have a laugh and everything we raise will go to the charity. Any donations towards bingo and raffle prizes would also be welcome.”

As well as studying for an HNC in healthcare practice at the City of Glasgow College, Chelsea has also recently started shifts as a healthcare support worker at the Royal Hospital for Children, in Glasgow.

She said: “Ever since I was wee, I’ve always wanted to work with the children at the hospital and, before Covid, I was able to go in and see some of them because of my fundraising.

“All the fundraising that is done for the children’s hospital really does help, as staff have been able to get the kids iPads, toys and much more than they previously had when I first visited.

“I love working there and I try to get as many shifts as possible.

“All of the nurses are lovely. They’re always upbeat and willing to help out.”